Thursday, November 22, 2012

Have a Gluten Free Thanksgiving!

My brother advised me to go gluten free back in fall 2007, saying that it helps with all manner of things, including depression and anxiety, and he seemed to be correct at the time. I experimented with several gluten free recipes back in November 2007 and I was satisfied enough with two of them to share them on Xanga. I have moved them here to make them easier to find. Keep in mind that gluten free does not mean carb free or sugar free, although most of the recipes I am working on are definitely sugar friendly and carb light.

Here is a delicious berry pudding recipe I've created in November 2007. This seems to be the best version of the several tries:

Kephirra's Berry Blitz Pudding (Gluten Free)

One pound frozen mixed berries
One pint heavy cream or half and half (evaporated milk will also work)
1/2 cup white graulated sugar (Splenda will work if you need a diabetic version of this recipe)
3T local honey
1/4 cup rice flour (for thickener)
1 t vanilla extract
food mill or strainer lined with cheesecloth
large mixing bowl
4 quart saucepan
wooden spoon

Thaw the frozen berries in a microwave using the defrost button, or sit them out the night before. Mix the rice flour into the heavy cream, stirring until smooth. Fold the heavy cream mixture and vanilla into the berries, and mix well. Fold in the sugar and honey. Heat the resulting mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat until the berry mixture bubbles but does not rise up to spill over the pan. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon for ten minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat.

Pour the berry mixture into a food mill or strainer lined with cheesecloth. Run the mixture through the food mill until all the liquids have gone back into the bowl and only solids are left behind. Discard the solids, unless you like the texture and don't want to give up the fiber they provide. Return the now-smooth berry mixture to your stove top and heat back to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and continue boiling for five minutes. Remove from heat and pour into serving dishes.

This pudding makes a great parfait. Pour it into the bottom of a parfait dish and tilt on its side slightly. Let the pudding cool, then add a layer of whipped topping or ice cream, then a second layer of pudding. Return to your fridge. Add a second layer of whipped topping or ice cream. Sprinkle each parfait with chopped pecans and grated dark chocolate. Enjoy! Serves 4 to 6.

Kephirra's Pork and Italian Sausage Scalloped Potato Casserole (Gluten Free)

One pound boneless pork chops (About four to six chops)
One pound Italian Link Sausage, cut into four inch links.(hot tastes best, okay to substitute bratwurst or kielbasa)
Six to eight medium potatoes, scrubbed and sliced, peels on
One large onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 t minced fresh garlic
1 t seasoned salt
1/2 cup rice flour
one cup water
One cup half and half or heavy cream
3T bacon grease
large 9" by 11" oblong glass baking dish

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss together the vegetables, herbs, spices, and sliced potatoes. Let stand for ten minutes. Pour the vegetable mixture into a glass baking dish. Sprinkle rice flour liberally over the entire casserole. Pour half and half over your casserole, making sure to wet the rice flour. Let stand ten minutes. Pour one cup of water over the casserole. Toss the vegetable mixture together until you are sure all the rice flour has been moistened. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measure, place dots of bacon grease all through the casserole, about two inches apart.

Lay the pork chops on top of your casserole, arranging so that they have just enough space to lay sausages between each one. Arrange the sausages on top of the casserole as well. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Line your oven rack with foil or place the glass baking dish on a larger cookie sheet, as this dish will sometimes run over and drip onto your oven.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty to forty minutes, until you can smell the meat roasting. Remove foil and continue baking another ten to fifteen minutes until meat begins to brown. Serves 6 to 8.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Caldo Des Camarones (Shrimp Soup)

Shrimp have always symbolized good times to me, due to their cost, so it made perfect sense to include a shrimp dish in my holiday menu. I served this soup as an appetizer at every holiday meal for fifteen years, after my two daughters and I returned to Ohio from Florida in 1992.

The original version of this recipe used canned salad shrimp, because I got it on sale at the Big Lots store that used to be on Lincoln Way East between Canton and Massillon. This recipe uses fresh, shell-on shrimp instead, because it makes richer-tasting broth.

2 pounds fresh, shell-on shrimp
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Wok or 12-inch saute pan
6 quarts frozen chicken stock (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8-quart stockpot
1 cup red and green bell pepper strips
1 tablespoon chicken soup base
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
Zest from one whole lemon
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced red onion
6 diced Roma tomatoes
1/2 pound diced carrots
12 ounces tomato paste 
Bread bowls
2 pounds cooked tricolor pasta (any shape)
Fresh chives

Defrost 6 quarts of chicken stock in an 8-quart stockpot. While the broth defrosts, preheat a wok for two minutes on medium-high before adding the olive oil. Allow the oil to heat for one additional minute.

Rinse the shrimp under cold running water and place them in a colander to drain. Pat each shrimp dry.

Place 1/2 pound of shrimp at a time in a single layer in the wok. If you do not have a wok, you can use a 12-inch saute pan instead. Stir-fry the shrimp until the flesh turns opaque and the shell changes from blue to a red or reddish-brown color.

Peel the shrimp and place them in a covered container in the refrigerator until later. Add the shells to the defrosted broth and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Bring the soup back to a rolling boil for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer the soup for 30 minutes.

Pour the broth through a colander to remove the shrimp shells and return the broth to the stockpot. Add the pepper strips, spices, celery, onion, Roma tomatoes and carrots. Stir the tomato paste into the mixture to ensure that it does not stay clumped. Bring the soup back to a rolling boil for 15 minutes.

Add the peeled shrimp. Serve the soup right away. You can serve caldo des camarones in bread bowls or ladle it over cooked tricolor pasta. Garnish with fresh chives and croutons. Serves 12 to 16.  

***Chicken Stock*** 
2 pounds cut-up chicken
8 quarts water
2 tablespoons chicken soup base
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
3 ribs diced celery
1 cup diced tomato
1 cup Italian salad dressing
3 large eggs
2 cups bread crumbs

Boil 2 pounds of cut up chicken in 8 quarts of water. Add 2 tablespoons of chicken soup base or 4 bouillon cubes. Add 1 tablespoon garam masala and stir the broth. Add 1/2 cup diced yellow onion, 3 ribs of diced celery and 1 cup of diced tomato. Boil all the ingredients together for 1 hour.

Remove the chicken from the pot. Strain the broth into 1 quart containers and freeze it. Set the chicken aside in a 9- by 13-inch rectangular baking pan or glass baking dish. Marinate the chicken overnight in 1 cup of Italian salad dressing. Beat 3 eggs to a froth in a 2-quart mixing bowl. Dip the chicken pieces in egg. Shake the chicken in a bag of bread crumbs before you fry it on top of stove or bake it in your oven. Serve the chicken with twice-baked potatoes and garden salad. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Grilled Pepper Jack Meat Loaf Burgers

Safeway had Nature's Pride multi-grain bread on sale this week for $2.50 per 24-ounce loaf and Jennie-O lean ground turkey patties for 99 cents per pound. They also had Lucerne cheese for $5.99 per 2-pound block, prompting me to create this recipe. If you prefer a vegan version, omit the egg and cheese and use a mixture of cooked lentils, chickpeas and black beans to make your burger.

1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 eggs (omit for vegan version)
2-quart mixing bowl
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
8 slices multi-grain bread
Food processor
1 pound ground beef or vegan substitute (see suggestions above)
4 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese
4 ounces tomato paste
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
Yellow pepper rings
Hamburger buns

Step 1: Chop the parsley as fine as you can.

Step 2: Use a fork to beat the eggs to an even, light-yellow froth in a 2-quart mixing bowl. Add the parsley, hot sauce, pepper, onion and garlic and stir until well-blended.

Step 3: Pulse the bread in your food processor until you get even-textured bread crumbs. Add the bread crumbs to the egg mixture and stir until well-blended. Omit the eggs when making a vegan version.

Step 4: Add the ground beef or vegan substitute. Mix just enough to distribute the bread crumb mixture throughout the ground beef or vegan substitute.

Step 5: Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions. Flatten four portions to 1/2-inch thickness.

Step 6: Make a slight depression in the center of each portion, using the back of a tablespoon.

Step 7: Fill the depression with 1 ounce of shredded pepper jack cheese, vegan cheese substitute or diced vegetables of your choice.

Step 8: Flatten the remaining four portions of ground beef or vegan substitute. Top each of the first four patties with one of the remaining four patties.

Step 9: Pinch and smooth the patties along the seam.

Step 10: Grill each patty for 4 minutes on each side. Top each grilled patty with 1 ounce of tomato paste and grill for one additional minute.

Step 11: Serve on hamburger buns, topped with grilled red and green bell pepper slices and yellow pepper rings.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cacique: They Liked Me, They Really Liked Me

Every writer lives for the day when they receive professional recognition that what they produce is worth reading. Today was that day for me. I wrote an article in June 2011 called Soy Chorizo Kitchen Tests and published it at on its Notecook site. I had kitchen-tested a new product: Cacique soy chorizo, detailing each step and all the results. Yesterday, I left a link to the article on Cacique USA's Facebook page. To my delight, Cacique USA sent me the following email message:

"Wow! Very educational, Jack. And it sounds like the Hawaiian-style sauce really tied it all together... But you left us on a cliffhanger -- how'd it TASTE?!"


Thank you, Cacique USA, for taking time to read my article!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

B Is for Bread: Safflower Petal Bread Recipe

I made safflower-petal bread a few weeks ago and promised to post the recipe. I bought the dried safflower petals at the Mesa, Arizona Pro's Ranch Market. I found them in the Spanish-language spice section, and I thought that they were saffron strands, but I was incorrect. Safflower petals impart a slight citrus-floral note to the bread. The bright orange strands are easy to spot when you slice the loaf. Serve this bread with orange-blossom honey and homemade butter for a farmhouse treat that beats cake hollow.

Ingredients and Equipment:

8-quart mixing bowl
8 sifted cups enriched all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons dried safflower petals
2 cups water or pan drippings
1 cup cola
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
11- by 17-inch glass casserole dish or a no-stick baking pan

If you want a fat-free, gluten-free version, substitute 6 cups of besan (chickpea flour) and 2 cups of finely-ground cornmeal for the flour and add 1/2 cup of applesauce instead of using 1/4 cup of canola oil. You will still need a tablespoon of canola oil to grease the glass casserole dish, unless you have no-stick baking pans. Remember to raise the baking temperature by 25 degrees if you use a metal baking pan instead of a glass casserole dish.

Sift the flour into an 8-quart mixing bowl. If you do not have a sifter, simply sprinkle or shake the flour into the bowl rather than dumping it. This will result in lighter, airier loaves with more appealing texture.

Add the baking powder and the baking soda. Although it sounds like a large amount, you are not using eggs or yeast, so the loaf needs all the help it can get.

Stir in the dried safflower petals. Sift the mixture again to ensure even distribution of the two leavening agents throughout your dough.

Add the water or pan drippings. I prefer pan drippings, because I hate waste in the kitchen, and because they flavor the bread, but water works just as well if you need a vegan or vegetarian option. You can use vegetable broth, almond milk or rice milk in place of water for a more full-bodied vegan bread.

Add the cola, which should cause the dough to foam, then add all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. Mix the dough until all the dry ingredients and wet ingredients merge. There should be no leftover flour in the corners or "mushy" portions in the dough. The dough should feel stretchy and should not stick to your hands.

Grease the casserole dish. Divide the dough into two equal portions and place them in the casserole dish, at least two inches apart. Pat each portion of dough into an oval loaf and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F if using the glass casserole dish, or 425 degrees F if using a metal, no-stick baking sheet. Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then turn the pans around and bake for another 20 minutes to ensure even baking.

Allow the bread to cool on the counter before slicing it into 1/2-inch thicknesses with a serrated knife.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Orange-Cardamom Pork Chops and Fried Potatoes

We've been buying a lot of pork recently, because we are making bone art for Wasteland Weekend, leaving me scrambling for different ways to prepare the meat. We use pork shoulder bones because they resemble skulls. We posted a few photos of two of the skulls in progress on Facebook. Once they are finished, we will post an article and photos on Tempe Frugal Life.

Once I removed the shoulder bone from the two roasts I bought at Ranch Market last week for 98 cents a pound, I sliced 15 pounds of the shoulder meat into chops. The other 5 pounds got chopped to make pulled pork in the slow cooker. Today I thawed 2 pounds of chops. While they thawed, I grated the zest from one whole navel orange, then squeezed the juice over the chops. I added the orange zest and 3 cloves of finely-minced fresh garlic, about 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom and about a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. I rubbed the spices all over the meat, turning it repeatedly in the orange juice to ensure complete coverage. I let the meat marinate in the refrigerator in a 4-quart plastic storage container while I scrubbed three fist-sized potatoes. I trimmed away some bad-looking spots and pierced each potato, then microwaved them together for 6 minutes on high. I turned each potato over and microwaved them for another two minutes, quartered them and sliced them into 1/2-inch thicknesses.

I heated 1/2 cup of canola oil in a 12-inch diameter saute pan on medium-high for three minutes, then used the lid as a shield while I slid each chop into the pan to avoid splashing the hot oil. I pan-fried the chops for three minutes per side, turning them twice on each side, for a total of 6 minutes per side. I pulled the chops from the oil, holding them over the saute pan until the oil stopped dripping before transferring them to a serving platter.

I used the lid as a shield again when I slid the sliced potatoes off the cutting board and into the oil. I pan-fried the potatoes for about 10 minutes, until they were just past golden-brown, then removed them from the pan using a slotted spoon. I pulled the double-layered paper towels over them and patted the excess oil away before sliding the potatoes onto the serving platter with the pork chops.

I boiled the marinade and added it to the shrimp-infused gravy I had made to go with the river-raised catfish we cooked two nights ago. I'll post that recipe another day.

Ingredients and Equipment:

2 pounds sliced pork shoulder roast
4-quart plastic storage container
Juice and zest from 1 navel orange
3 large cloves garlic
Chef's knife
Cutting board
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
3 fist-sized potatoes
1/2 cup canola oil
12-inch saute pan with lid
Serving platter
Slotted spoon
Small glass casserole dish

1 pint shrimp-infused gravy (recipe to come tomorrow)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tell Me About Yourself

I check my audience profile about once a week. I've been fascinated by the fact that people all over the world are reading my recipes. I love it when I see that people from places like Moldova (I had to look that one up) Latvia, Poland, South Africa and the Philippines apparently enjoy this blog.

I would love to hear from each of you. Tell me where you are located, what you enjoy about this blog and the recipes I have posted, and what you would like to see in the future. Post a photo of an ingredient you would like me to include in my next recipe.

Let me know whether you use a desktop or laptop computer, mobile phone or other device to access this page, and let me know what would make this blog more personally useful to you.

o zi bună! (Have a good day, moldoveni!)

ir laba nedēļa! (Have a good week, latvieši!)

mieć dobry tydzień! (Have a good week, Polacy!)

het 'n goeie week! (Have a good week, Suid-Afrikaners!)

Mayroon ang isang magandang linggo (Have a good week, Pilipinas!)